The Taipei City Government yesterday unveiled more than 30 pieces of panda merchandise that have been themed around the six-month-old cub who has stolen the nation’s heart.
In an attempt to satisfy growing panda fever, the products are expected to create NT$500 million (US$16 million) in new business, officials said.
EasyCards, baby strollers, red envelopes, T-shirts and stickers are just some of the products that are to be available after Yuan Zai officially meets with the public for the first time on Monday.
Department of Economic Development Deputy Commissioner Lin Wa-fu (林萬福) said private businesses from many fields had expressed an interest since applications to supply official Yuan Zai products opened last month.
“Yuan Zai is the mascot for Taipei, and many panda fans want the city government to provide Yuan Zai products,” he said.
“We hope the authorized products will create a win-win situation for local business and the public,” Lin added.
When Yuan Zai makes her first public appearance at the Taipei Zoo on Monday, she will be placed in the same enclosure as her mother, Yuan Yuan (圓圓), while her father, Tuan Tuan (團團), is to be in a separate enclosure.
Taipei’s shelter factories — which provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities under the Department of Labor Affairs — have partnered with the zoo to produce a special Lunar New Year holiday gift set featuring the panda designs.
Department Commissioner Chen Yeh-hsin (陳業鑫) said the gift sets, such as cakes or hand-made soaps, are high quality and reasonably priced at between NT$300 and NT$500.
The commissioner urged the public to purchase the products to support workers with disabilities.